As we grow up, we turn into different versions of ourselves. We are still us, but we have experiences that shape us and shorten us and (sometimes) stretch us.
When I was younger, I only slightly veered from the safe routes. I strayed by listening to rock music, but I didn’t venture into mosh pits. I stepped out of line by talking back to mean people, but I tiptoed around harsh teachers.
In June 2013, I met someone who changed my tiptoeing nature. Suddenly, I had to answer every time we were together if we were together, if we had plans to stay together, why we were together, what my parents thought of us being together, what we did together – just to name a few of the questions.
My partner and I had to learn how to stretch to be together. While this happens for many monoracial couples, it doesn’t often involve stretching in every aspect.
In order to understand what is going on in cultural situations, he studied the language my parents shift into quite often. While he may still struggle with stringing the words together, similar to Nabela and Seth, he made an effort without me asking or prompting.
He studied and took on a new religion. This wasn’t easy, as we also dealt with questions after he converted, but he thought it would make the most sense for both of us.
In a world where his privilege is never questioned, he’s calling it into question.
He’s calling out people and asking people to talk about the tough stuff, similar to the other feminists we know and admire.
But he does it to learn.
And I truly believe that if we stretch ourselves, one tiny bit at a time, love really can change the world.
Image credit: Ben White via Unsplash
Note: this has been updated since being written in 2015.